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INSAIT Launchеs AI Excellence Fеllowship Program to Support Talеntеd Bulgarian High Schoolеrs

Portrait of Martin Vechev, founder of INSAIT leaning at a white board written in formulas
Image credit: Andrey Andonov; The founder of INSAIT prof. Martin Vechev.
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In a nutshell: 

  • The Institute for Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence and Technology – INSAIT, part of Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” announced the launch of EXPLORER, an Excellence Program in Technology and Research aimed at talented high school students, specializing in the area of computer science and AI.
  • The program was revealed at a government-hosted event in the presence of the Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov. 
  • The program is supported by global tech companies, asset management firms, and VC companies.

 

Why it matters: Bulgaria has been struggling for the last 30 years to keep its best tech talent home. The country saw several mass exodus waves after the fall of communism. 

Successful tech systems such as the US, Israel, and Switzerland are built on the premise that to develop future tech leaders they need to support undergraduate students receive both fundamental knowledge through university education as well as experience through research and advanced engineering projects.

In their own words:  “The INSAIT excellence program EXPLORER combines a strong four-year Bachelor’s degree at the Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics (FMI) of Sofia University with the world-class research and engineering opportunities found at INSAIT and the deep-tech ecosystem forming around it. Students will have the opportunity to complement their studies with research on important projects in areas such as large language models, computer vision, robotics, machine learning, algorithms, quantum computing, and others”, said prof. Martin Vechev, scientific director and founder of INSAIT.

 

Get the Details: The EXPLORER program is financed with donations by INSAIT’s industry partners. 

  • The “Lead by Example” foundation of Bulgarian-founded global hosting company SiteGround. SiteGround has been the largest private supporter of INSAIT so far with a total investment of more than 6M EUR.
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Combined, these organizations are donating over 1M BGN (500K EUR).

INSAIT has been on a roll lately. A month ago, the AI institute launched the first Bulgarian language model, BgGPT. It is yet to be accessed publicly on the 3rd of March at bggpt.ai. This is a strategic project for Bulgaria, aiming to enhance the adoption of AI in various institutions, especially in education. BgGPT is going to answer different tasks and questions, similar to OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard. The model is specifically designed for the Bulgarian language.

The Big Picture:  The Institute for Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence and Technology (INSAT) in Sofia was created 2 years ago in partnership with two of the world’s leading technology universities ETH Zurich and EPFL Lausanne. INSAIT is the first research institute in Eastern Europe, structured on the model of the world’s leading research institutions. It is financed by the Bulgarian government with an amount of $100 million over 10 years and is supported with $15 million by Amazon Web Services, Google, DeepMind, and SiteGround.

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Zornitsa Stoilova is Editor-in-Chief at The Recursive. She has over 15 years of experience in journalism and the management of editorial teams.